The Los Angeles Lakers are currently five games under .500 and finally halted a six-game skid with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night. While blowing out the Cavs was necessary, the team still clearly has a lot of work to do.
However, it doesn’t seem like any of that work will be coming from the front office, as ESPN’s Marc Stein has found that the organization isn’t planning to make any major deals prior to, or at the February 21 trade deadline.
According to the analyst:
Even before Jim Buss' appearance Thursday on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, there was a growing sense among those congregated in Reno (for the D-League Showcase) that the Lakers don't have another blockbuster move in them this season.
While it may or may not be the right call, it appears the Lakers are pretty much saddled with their current roster.
The only change that looks imminent is a replacement for Jordan Hill, who is set to undergo season-ending surgery soon and the team could be eligible for a disabled player exception if GM Mitch Kupchak chooses to petition the league for one.
At most, that would give the Lakers $1.78 million (or $1.88 million to trade for a player with an expiring contract) in spending money—not nearly enough to make a massive splash with. Expect L.A. to bring in a player on the veteran’s minimum to take Hill’s roster spot.
Another reason why the Lakers are likely to avoid a trade comes from Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD. He found that because Pau Gasol, Los Angeles’ most eligible trade asset, has such a large contract, team brass is looking to get three or four pieces in return—something just not possible at this juncture.
RT @jopatmc1967: ---> The Lakers want to break Gasol's money into three or four smaller pieces not one major asset. No roster room for that— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 13, 2013
The Lakers currently have approximately $100 million in salary and guaranteed money all over the place, so acquiring up to four players for Gasol just wouldn’t work until the offseason.
Due to these factors, we would be shocked to see Kupchak pull the trigger on anything more than a minor swap up to and at the deadline.